NEW YORK -- Unprompted last week at the General Managers Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., Mets GM Sandy Alderson mentioned Dillon Gee and Jon Niese as potential trade candidates in addition to the more hotly rumored R.A. Dickey. The Mets are considering dealing from their starting rotation, a position of strength, and neither Gee nor Niese are apparently immune.
Alderson also warned that he must be careful in considering such trades, because starting-pitching depth is a valuable asset to have.
The individual rotation members seem to agree.
"I love the starting five," Gee said Wednesday, after he and reliever Bobby Parnell helped collect food donations at Citi Field to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. "I think we gelled well together and we all got along well and learned from each other. I think we all complemented each other very well."
Gee and Parnell teamed with City Harvest food rescue volunteers to collect supplies at Citi, before driving south to Breezy Point, Queens, to deliver brooms, shovels and bottled water to additional victims. Their efforts came a day after pitcher Johan Santana and COO Jeff Wilpon traveled to Coney Island to help distribute food and supplies.
"It's a chance for us to give back to the people who have given to us for the last few years," Parnell said. "It's a good opportunity for us to come up here and help these guys."
For Gee in particular, this winter has marked a return to normalcy. In the four months since a blood clot in his right arm ended his season and threatened to derail his career -- perhaps for good -- Gee has returned to life as a regular starting pitcher. He eventually healed fully, began playing catch in September and plans to start his offseason throwing regimen later this month.
"I finished the year throwing and everything felt fine," Gee said. "I've been working out for like three weeks now and I've never thought about it."
Other than a routine checkup in St. Louis before Spring Training, Gee should enter the new year focused simply on continuing what had been a breakout season for him prior to the injury. Adding a touch of fastball velocity and leaning more heavily on his offspeed pitches, Gee posted a 4.10 ERA over 17 starts, along with by far the best strikeout and walk rates of his career.
Entering his age-27 season, there is reason to believe he can continue improving. It's just a matter of whether he will do that with the Mets.
With weaknesses up and down their lineup, the Mets know they could do well by trading an established starting pitcher for a power bat. Dickey's name has surfaced often due to his advanced age and the perception that he may never duplicate his 2012 performance.
Johan Santana does not figure to draw any interest due to his sky-high salary, and the Mets consider Matt Harvey too valuable to their future to deal. That leaves Niese and Gee, both of whom are under team control for at least four more seasons at reasonable salaries. Opposing teams may well show interest.
Gee is doing his best to ignore the talk.
"That's not my job," he said. "I'm just trying to get prepared to throw next year. I think we all like to play together, but this is a business. [Alderson] is going to do whatever he thinks is best for us."